Saturday September 29th
Getting up at 330 is way to common in my trip reports lately but I was excited and tired all at the same time. I hit the gym early to try and work out that excitement since it was going to be a long day. I was heading south to Los Angeles for the Aviation Dorkfest. A gathering organized by Brett aka @crankyflier.
I had met Brett last year during my round the world trip and was an avid reader of his blog and have used his service (cranky concierge) during my trip last year. The 2nd Annual Dorkfest was going to be held at the In n Out at LAX. Right under the approach to the airport. Burgers, planes and just lots of #avgeek times. What better way to spend a day.
I had told my friend David of @AirlineReporter fame about the day and in the end a a Virgin America sale sealed the deal. Add to that a priceline bids for a convertible at $40 and hell a good day it was looking to be. David showed up at my place and we headed off in the early Seattle morning still pitch black outside. The freeway was empty and we parked up at the Light Rail station to be cheap skates for the day as parking was free (and my Orca got me a free ride).
We just missed a tram when we arrived so we had to wait a bit but it was an easy ride to the airport for day trips on weekends I am so doing that more often. Not a hassle or care in the world. By the time we got to the airport and had checked in, things were looking up. An upgrade to First Class. Don't mind if I do!
Security wasn't totally horrible but it was a little slow. No nude o scope for me, not even a small hassle at all. By the time we got through security and walked to the gate, boarding had just started. I still love First Class with Virgin America. Big comfy white seat, Wifi, Satellite TV, good food and drink. What more do you want?
Virgin America VX780
Seattle to Los Angeles
Airbus A320 (N642VA - "breanna jewel")
First Class – Seat 1C (originally 21A, then 2F)
Boarding: 0640 (Gate A6)
Push Back: 0709
Take Off Roll: 0716 (Runway 34R)
Top of Descent: 0900
Touch Down: 0924 (Runway 24L)
Shut Down: 0927 (Gate 35)
We pushed back after a number of photos, a couple of cups of coffee, a visit to the cockpit and some wondering if I am going to be booted out of my seat (since I didn't expect an upgrade at all). The flight was great. The one issue, no IFE, even after two reboots, I gave up and read my magazine. Breakfast was served on our flight South with a hot or cold choice. The cold was lighter of the two (Granola, fruit & Banana Bread) and washed down with about 5 or 6 cups of coffee (I was needing it bad).
A quick descent into LAX but then we kind of burnt donuts in the sky for a bit. Either way it wasn't bad. The crew were awesome all lead by a stunning tall blonde female Captain. Did I mention how much I like Virgin America right now 😉
Ww touched down in Los Angeles and we were off the plane in moments heading towards the Hertz shuttle, towards our convertible. No need to beg for a good car, they offered me a Mustang without a need for a prompt, even a choice of colors. Hello silver Mustang. Aren't you awesome. Looking like a great day. My muscle car list is almost complete, next up... Challenger.
We took a few pics at In n Out, picked up a few other people coming in from Dallas, and headed up to Imperial Hill for a few early photos. As the Dorkfest began we headed over to In n Out. The Dorkfest was great, meeting people, chatting, lots of spotting and a mix of crap backlit shots but some good ones thrown in as well. A couple of A380s were about the high light spotting wise, most of the good stuff was landing on the south side as usual with my luck.
I dropped someone back at the terminal and then it was time for lunch. I had been looking forward to this for a week. One of the best things about spotting at LAX is In n Out. The burger, the atmosphere, good times! But looking back over the burgers I have had over the last few weeks, I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong I still love In n Out. The burger is delicious. Fresh, well made, good ingredients, tasty. The fries always taste great then straight after I always think "why did I have that cause they never have that crunch I want."
But compared to the burgers I've had lately its just not as good. For me the thing that makes In n Out special is the location really. The location just increases the awesomeness of it all, makes the beef all that tastier, the cheese all that cheesier. The fries all that more limper (though they taste awesome with some ketchup). In n Out is more about the experience, the feeling, that special feeling you get for flying two hours for a burger I could get better at home. Why do it then? Cause on days like today I can meet new people, enjoy the things I love doing and share it with like minded people. All while having that elusive treat.
I was totally content after lunch. I could of sat back, watched the planes go by and spent my time soaking in the sun. We headed back over to Imperial Hill and did just that really. How could I not have loved the day. I did manage to get myself a parking ticket ($33 for parking on the wrong side of the road), but it didn't dampen my mood. Hell even the sunburn was worth it. Regretfully we dropped off the Mustang, and was back on the shuttle heading to the airport.
No hassles at check in, no upgrades, hell there was barely a line at security, though I was nude o scoped and managed to forget the quarter I put in my shoe. Talked our way into what is now the new Virgin Australia lounge which looks so much better than the last time I was in there. Back then it was the Alaska Airlines Boardroom. Now it looks Damn awesome, the views are still epicly good though. I felt wrong having anything more than some water, but I was more interested in a comfy seat and no crowds.
We headed down to our gate and I found out we had no one next to us so even though we weren't getting an upgrade a free middle seat is just as nice. But then it happened. Delay. A 10-15 min delay. That turned into longer as out gate changed, our 320 had gone technical 🙁 Swapped to a 319. That meant less chance of keeping that free middle seat. Eh easy come easy go.
Virgin America VX795
Los Angeles to Seattle
Airbus A319 (N522VA - "the 1-year-old virgin")
Main Cabin (Economy) – Seat 21A
Boarding: 1707 (Gate 34)
Push Back: 1735
Take Off Roll: 1742 (Runway 24L)
Top of Descent: 1932
Touch Down: 1954 (Runway 24L)
Shut Down: 2000 (Gate 35)
Boarding was eventually called and we had to wait till Group C. Off to the back we go, all the way to the last row. But it would be good cause I had never flown straight economy before. First & Main Cabin Select I have experienced, normal old Main Cabin would be different. My tv worked, the Longhorns game was on, I would get a free Soda. The flight couldn't be all that bad.
By the time we took off, I was enjoying the game and kept on enjoying it as we cruised north, back to my new home. To be honest it was just like any other flight. Up, Down and a long bit in the middle. I worked on the trip report , joked around a bit, even tried to order drinks to the free middle seat (they never showed up though). My body started to slowly shut down as the sun started to set on an awesome day. We came in directly from the south, on a direct approach to the 34 runways. By the time we had touched down, we were quite late but to be honest, I was just looking forward to a nice lie down and a bucket of water for my face since it was totally sunburnt (and most of our jokes revolved around said sunburn). As we were the last people right up the back, we were last off the plane. ah well!
We made our way back through SeaTac, back through the car park, back to the Light rail station and the next Tram was due to leave just minutes later and within 10 minutes we were in the Truck... reversing the same journey we had taken just that morning. An end on a fantastic day!